Nassim Haramein: Genius or Crackpot?

Nassim Haramein is a self-claimed physicist who has gained a lot of popularity amongst non-scientists and has a ton of enlightening youtube videos. He explains things in a way that if you are not an expert, it seems as if he has to be right. However, I have not met one actual physicist who agrees with his ideas. I tend to sympathize for Haramein, as many of his ideas align with how I picture the quantum vacuum.

My current view is that the world has a classical (real) description, which can be further decomposed into a quantum mechanical (complex) description. My opinion is that all physical observables must be real (classical) numbers, yet the physical quantities may be described in terms of complex (quantum) operators. After studying QFT, it is clear that the quantum vacuum is real. However, all classical theories neglect this vacuum, which is known to have inherently quantum phenomena. It is as if we say classical mechanics is wrong because we leave out the quantum vacuum. The theories we have subtract out the quantum vacuum, which results in a theory which must be quantum mechanical and no longer allows for a classical or real description. We have a class of phenomena which are described as inherently “quantum”, but I am arguing that we should look at these as inherently “vacuum” phenomena. Whether we analyze the system with real numbers (classical) or complex numbers (quantum), they both should be an adequate description of everything that we observe, since everything we observe must be “real”, by construction.

In this post, I will review Nassim’s “outlandish” paper called “The Schwarzschild Proton”, which can be found here:

The most popular refutation of such work is found here, which I will refer throughout as Up:

The whole point of the paper is to say that all objects which can be approximated as pointlike objects are actually black holes. While this sounds outlandish, it actually is quite smart. The whole point of a black hole is that no information can leave. Therefore, by stating that a proton is a black hole, you are integrating out all degrees of freedom of substructure. There is no need to talk about the quarks and gluons holding the proton together, because they are all within the event horizon and therefore should have no impact on dynamics. Therefore, it seems that Nassim has created a classical model of some aspects of the strong force from gravity.

Nassim then uses this and some simple classical gravity arguments to obtain nuclear properties without any use of the strong force. He models the proton as a sphere with a radius of the compton wavelength. He then argues that if two of these protons were to spin around each other at the speed of light, then this could be used to describe why nuclei are stable. I don’t think Nassim is trying to say that the strong force does not exist. He is simply noting that there may be some self-consistent model which integrates out the strong force.

Next, I would like to address the critiques of Up, the blog entry posted above. Nassim starts by saying the quantum vacuum has an energy density. Nassim is saying that if you take the volume of a sphere with the radius of a Compton wavelength of a particle, then you can access all of the energy from the vacuum (which is larger than the rest mass). Therefore, he defines a fundamentally new type of mass term in his theory. The Up post seems to completely not understand this at all. Their first complaint is that Nassim claims that the mass of the proton is much larger than what we measure in a lab. No shit, Nassim is including the energy from the vacuum as well. We already know that dark energy represents most of the energy of the universe, so why is this surprising? It is clear to us that there is hidden energy in the universe. We don’t even understand how mass is created in the standard model. We even state that the bare mass of all particles is infinite. Renormalization is the procedure used to make the mass finite.

So in some senses, Nassim’s theory is MUCH MORE REASONABLE then quantum field theory, which is a well established theoretical framework riddled with infinity problems. Note that the reason that we do not understand quantum gravity is because of these infinity problems. My immediate belief when I learned QFT was that there are no infinity problems in the proper description, and that the bare masses must actually be somehow all related.

In Nassim’s theory, he is saying that the bare mass is defined by the Compton wavelength and the vacuum energy density. This is quite a beautiful picture. It makes a lot of sense too, if you were to get infinitely close to an electron, you would no longer feel as infinite of a force as QFT would predict. Sure, it would still go to infinity, but not as fast!

Up continues to talk about Hawking radiation and argue that a proton with this mass would not be physical. They clearly are not understanding what Nassim’s picture of mass is. He never claims to try to find what the physical mass is, he simply works with the bare mass. All of our physical theories are based off of the physical mass values, so obviously you will get nonsense if you plug the bare mass values into equations that represent physical masses. He also makes this mistake when talking about stability. He also claims that this model does not describe the substructure of the proton. So what? He isn’t trying to. Physics is about coming up with approximate models. Obviously QCD is going to get a more correct result than Nassim’s theory, but Nassim is never invoking quantum mechanics! His theory is purely classical. It is very simple and intuitive.

The next incredible fact that Nassim finds is that if you calculate the bare mass of 1 proton, you get roughly less than the mass of the entire universe, which is not surprising, since most of the matter is contained in protons. So the potential energy (vacuum energy) in one proton equals all of the physical energy throughout the universe. This cannot be some coincidence.

I believe that Nassim’s results suggests that there is a finite amount of energy, originally stored in the vacuum. It seems that energy may be transferred from the vacuum into the physical world in discrete packets, which gives quantum mechanical phenomena. His theory suggests that we may be able to find a QFT with finite bare parameters. Once we reach a distance where these bare parameters would be exceeded, it is suggestive of a symmetry breaking, or higher energy physics.

Let’s dive deeper into Up’s 6 main critiques:

  1. Up admits that the quantum vacuum calculation is approximate, then argues that Nassim should have gotten a closer result for comparing gravity and the strong force. He argues that the value of the energy density could be off by many orders of magnitude, which is true. He then says that Nassim should get a result closer than the 2 orders of magnitude he is off by. Are you serious? Obviously Nassim isn’t going to get it exactly right, you just explained why in your own complaint. It is clear that his skepticism is guiding him, rather than logic.
  2. Nassim seems to think that there is no strong force. I agree with Up here, there is a strong force and we clearly measure it’s results. I think Nassim is a bit confused here. I also don’t know why he calculates the force between two protons. He should have known that this would have misguided a lot of people. I think he is arguing that we have the potential to create devices with more force than we currently realize. Imagine if an EM drive was made using these forces? I think Nassim is making a good point to recognize that gravity and the strong force must be related, so if you were to integrate out all of the strong force from your theory, then the gravitational fields would get renormalized to describe these phenomena.
  3. Up claims Nassim gets a result that disagrees with special relativity. Nassim does not use special relativity, he uses classical mechanics to calculate the speed. Nowhere is Nassim required to agree with the result of special relativity. He is using bare mass, not physical mass. Therefore, everything is different. It is clear that Nassim is thinking of the proton as closely packed spheres. Since this is a new concept, it would not be surprising if he did make a mistake by a factor of 1.5 or something, you could just change the way you are envisioning the spheres to match. The whole point Nassim is making is that he calculates the speed of light from this gravitational effect. He is getting a special relativity number from a classical theory, which is quite remarkable.
  4. Up seems to be agreeing with Nassim, yet is so frustrated that he claims that it is an obvious result. Up simply takes the length scale and divides by c, but Nassim never assumes c, it popped out of his theory, as explained above. Remarkable.
  5. Up skips the most conclusive result of Nassim’s work. He shows that all systems in physics roughly follow this linear trend, and the Schwarzschild proton agrees with this trend exactly.
  6. Up also skips talking about this. Nassim admits that his theory is a classical approxmation and gets a reasonable result. He is off by exactly 2.25, which is 9/4ths. Notice that Up complained before about a factor of 1.5 in bullet point 3. Maybe it is no coincidence that 1.5^2 = 2.25, suggesting a small error in Nassim’s work?

It is my goal to start a free energy revolution, much akin to the industrial revolution. If particles can borrow energy from the vacuum, then so can humans! Perpetual motion is possible without violating the first law of thermodynamics.

In conclusion, I think it is such a shame that the scientific is so closed minded that they immediately disregard any model that doesn’t align perfectly with their already established models. Nassim is addressing an actual serious problem with all QFT. In QFT, we say that the bare charge and mass of all fermions is infinite, which seems absurd. Nassim does seem to have some incite on the vacuum and what it means to exist without including the quantum fluctuations occurring in space around the particle. Everything we measure about the electron is not associated with the electron, but rather the shielding provided by the vacuum. In some senses, we don’t know what the electron is like at all in a laboratory. We only understand the result of its interactions with the vacuum. Nassim seems to have a better understanding about what the bare proton is better than all physicists. He clearly doesn’t know as much about the interactions, QCD, etc, but we can forgive him of that.


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